I’m about to turn 24 in July so I am a full on adult! College is starting to feel like a distant memory. And I’m finding that the working life and my relationships beyond college are becoming the most fulfilling phase of my life! Everything has changed and it is nothing of what I expected, but I am incredibly happy and growing immensely and it’s crazy to me that everyone I went into college with is fully growing up and in law school or grad school or peace corps and becoming part of the professional world and getting married! These are some of the moments I’ve had over the past couple years where it hits me how old we are getting!!! #Adulting
1. Paying for everything. I’ve had my YouTube income since high school, so my parents wanted me to be independent and let me pay for a lot of things throughout college, but they were also really serious about wanting me to focus on school and not be worried about money. I had scholarships to cover tuition but they were paying for my dorm, meal plan, flights home for Christmas, even for most of my textbooks, etc. At the time I felt financially independent because I had to pay for school supplies and my phone bill, dorm bedding and shampoo and toothpaste, cleaning supplies and clothes and transportation and all of my camera & editing equipment for my youtube! But in reality most everything essential was already paid for.
2. Actually being broke. Paying rent. And electricity. And water. And wifi. There are SO many bills and even split between all of my roommates it gets VERY pricy! In college we’d joke about “being broke” and we often would be, but since our parents were helping cover groceries and paying for the dorm, it was never that serious. Now being broke is like WHOAAA I need to eat! I’m going to BE HUNGRY if I don’t budget better!!! At my apartment complex, the landlord starts charging each of my roommates individually $50 a day if someone doesn’t pay rent on the website on time. THIS IS NOT A GAME! Just staying alive is so expensive and it was kind of scary at first (but also empowering!) having to pay hundreds of dollars of bills and having real consequences if you don’t pay. It has made me feel full ownership of my living space in a way I’ve never felt before. I’ve always been really into saving electricity for environmental reasons, but now it is EXTREME how serious I am about making sure lights are turned off and barely ever using the AC. I even find myself more excited about cleaning, because I’m paying for this space and so I feel more love toward it and more empowered to take care of our little home!
3. Budgeting. My parents gave me $200 a month for groceries when I lived in the apartment dorms my junior and senior year at college, and at the time it seemed like a reasonable amount of money. But now that my own money is being spent, that seems SO EXPENSIVE and I’ve found cheaper ways to eat!! I shop at Trader Joe’s and can easily spend $20-$25 a week on groceries. I eat the essentials: bananas, rice, kale, beans, bread, etc. I make almost all of my meals homemade and am no longer “yes yes yes!” like I was in college with always going out to eat with friends. I hate spending money out on coffee when I can for a fraction brew my own and I’ve simplified my meals in buying less of the pricy “vegan meat” “vegan cheese” etc. type products and instead am just eating simple whole plant based meals. Buying avocados or raspberries is splurging! And for the first time I’m trying to stay aware of my checking account rather than aimlessly spending money.
4.Finding your Real Friends. Leaving the college community cuts down your friend group by a lot. Before it was easy to keep up with acquaintances through shared activities and groups, but once you’re away from that environment you don’t have time to keep up with so many people. I started shrinking my friend group my last year of college, where I intentionally stuck to my close friends and focused on deepening those relationships. But it’s surprising leaving college who I’ve stayed closest with. Some people who I considered best friends while at Pepperdine I barely talk to now, because they’re more focused on other things or just not good at keeping up long-distance communication. I love keeping up with people from afar through social media and it’s very nice having occasionally reunions! But I also love how my social life has evolved. Some of the current people who I talk to every day and are like family to me I knew at college, but never would’ve guessed that we’d be as close as we are now! The girls I am living with and my boyfriend I knew as acquaintances at Pepperdine, but now life happened in a way that brought us so much closer! As someone who craves depths in my relationships, its peaceful being able to gently cut ties with certain people and to choose who I want to stay friends with for life. I understand that it is my responsibility to reach out to people, make time for weekly or bi-weekly phone calls and invite people to events! Even in budgeting my money so I can afford plane tickets to visit friends in other states during holidays, I’m learning how to choose my family and prioritize relationships.
5. Friends getting serious health conditions. When we are young, we feel invincible and most of us can eat pretty much anything and not get sick. We feel less responsible because death seems too far off. But within the past couple years, two of my friends have gotten blood work done and been within the range of pre-diabetic and one of my friends has been diagnosed with a more serious stomach condition that could lead to cancer if extreme changes in diet aren’t made. So many of my friends who had unhealthy lifestyles before and were almost proud in their ability to be apathetic have made serious life changes! One of my guy friends who notoriously would only eat meat and do weight training started running every morning and eating vegetables. All of my roommates started cooking more vegan dishes at the beginning of this year and making smoothies in the morning with fresh fruits and chia and flaxseeds. My roommates finally started working out with me too! We see exercise and diet as SO pertinent in how long we will live and what diseases we will be diagnosed with. Even things like limiting alcohol to once every two weeks and going to sleep early have become engrained into our lifestyles. Before, staying out until 2AM was so fun! But now at 8:30PM it feels so late and we want to go home and sleep. Living the crazy college life of being constantly sleep-deprived and not having time to care about health had its place and helped us to intensely focus on our studies, but it’s nice to be past that and finally able to devote time to loving ourselves.
6. Big Career Changes. As is the norm in the United States, most adults switch jobs and even entire career paths several times throughout their lives. But it has surprised me how fast that happens! For some of my friends, every few months they completely switch into a different types of job and are doing something completely different than what anyone thought they would! We bond over horrible bosses, unethical people not wanting to pay for freelance work, startup passion projects, and exhausting times of sending in resumes and cover letters and dealing with rejection. It takes a lot of trial-and-error to find what you click with and are most passionate about, even with my YouTube content! If you’d told me three years ago that I’d be making videos about Catholicism and Bipolar Disorder I’d be shocked!! It’s amazing how you can plan everything out so well, looking years ahead, but randomness seems to permeate and ensue in how things fall into place. Getting older has caused me to take my YouTube more seriously too! I spend extreme lengths of time researching for videos and writing out video scripts, on occasion hire a videographer, and am finally taking social media seriously as part of my job! I have a business manager and am learning how to work with brands and make various side projects come to life! I’m expanding what my career is capable of being and becoming the most committed I’ve ever been to producing quality content!
7. Serious relationships. Everyone has memorable relationships in high school and college. Intense love stories followed by hard breakups. There were lots of times where we were left feeling insecure and confused and hurting and other times where everyone in my friend group was single and super content just hanging out and being best friends with each other; followed by intervals of intense dating apps, but around the same time last year all of my close friends fell into mature, serious relationships. Instead of being this rush of emotions and intensity, they are calm, chill, steady relationships. We’ll be casually talking about marriage when we’re talking about our significant others to each other, because we’re old enough and know who we are and are forming our lives. We casually talk about maid of honor and meeting each other’s kids and where we’ll live in the future in a way I never would’ve been comfortable with a few years ago. A week ago we were talking about the future and my roommates made me promise to come back to California and visit them all the time once I’m grown up and married, musing of how it’ll be SO sad when we’re no longer all living as roommates. Since I went to a Christian college, a lot of people I knew got married right after graduation: two of my suitemates from freshman year were married two years ago, another recently engaged! One of my best friends is even pregnant! And she’s told me I am the Godmother!! I’m finding the idea of settling down and being a mom someday more and more appealing in a way I never would’ve felt even a year ago. A lot of the YouTubers I’ve grown up with are getting married too and it is CRAZY to me how much we are all maturing and forming our lives! I am so so proud of everyone in my life and how far we’ve come.
8. Charity. When I was in high school and college I was really passionate about poverty relief because of the Prophets and Gospels and Philosophy I was reading! I had this beautiful, pure attitude of my money not being my own, but being God’s money! Since I was being supported by my parents I had the luxury of donating to World Vision and International Justice Mission and More Than Compassion and Union Rescue Mission. I loved being generous and felt convicted by God to share in what He’d blessed me with. But my last year of college when my depression kicked in, I stopped posting videos and that took a huge hit on my YouTube income. So I cancelled monthly donations and stopped giving my money away to non-profits or at church. Since getting back on my feet and working insanely hard to consistently post on my Youtube, I’ve felt re-convicted to give some of my money back to God. I read Tobit for the first time a couple months ago and it has themes of being charitable and helping the poor as a result of a healthy spirituality. At my first Confession I talked to my Priest about this, confessed how I’ve stopped consistently giving money to God. He encouraged me to start tithing money and that’s what I’ve been doing! Every time I get paid I take 10% out in cash and donate it at church the next Sunday. I’ve been praying that God will soften my heart even more and give me the desire to spend less money on food and anything material etc. so I can give even more away to help people more in need than I am. If we are not generous in our poverty, we will not be generous in our riches. Give whatever you can. It is your heart and generosity that matters to God.
9 Becoming re-committed to Religion. In the past few years, many people I went to college with have fully converted into the Catholic Church and decided to make it their home within Christianity. Other people who were less religious in college have started thinking more in-depth about the bigger questions in life and wanted to go back to church and read the Bible or pray more! A lot of people I knew who grew up in Churches of Christ with me have left to another denomination or have majorly changed in their theology from what their family believes. It’s no longer up to our parents what we believe, but we can go to whatever church we want to and so we change. While the trend is that lots of millennials are leaving Christianity, as we grow into full adults and settle down into relationships and then grow families of our own, we will naturally fall back into Religion. For the first time at church, I no longer have a curated group and ministry. I’m not part of the children’s ministry, youth group, campus ministry….but an actual adult!! I’m part of adult bible studies at my Parish and naturally socialize with people at my church who in my mind are much more real “adults” than I am! But I find that I’m no longer viewed as someone young, but trusted as someone fully part of the Church! It’s been fulfilling to form real relationships and glean wisdom from people who are much older than me and be inter-generational rather than segmented into a friend group of Christians my same age! I’ve found among people in my life and on my YouTube channel, that as we mature and grow up many people are being drawn back to God through the religious life!